Watch Complications: The Retrograde

Special additions are what take a watch from a casual accessory to a sophisticated timepiece. These features complicate the production of the watch, by fitting them into the small space of the case.

With digital watches, complications are easy to apply, like the alarm, calendar, and chronometer that you all know. But we’ll be going back to the fine art of mechanical watches, concentrating on the hand-made and embellished features by skilled artisans called watchmaking masters.

Look at the Roger Dubuis Hommage, for instance, that has a perpetual calendar, moon phase, power reserve and two retrograde indicators. Fitting all this detail into a 40mm diameter case certainly takes over 150 manufacturing hours per watch.

Close up of the Roger Dubuis Hommage 18k White Gold Mens Wristwatch 40 MM

So, let’s talk about the retrograde complication. Usually, normal features have a circular shape, allowing for a continuous movement of the hands, due to the form and placement of the gears and wheels. The retrograde is an exception to this; it has a hand that springs back to the beginning once it reaches the end of the time period. Retrogrades can be in horizontal and vertical shapes, but most commonly they have a semi-circular design.

Retrograde on the JeanRichard Grand TV Screen Stainless Steel Mens Wristwatch 40 MM Retrograde on the Jacques Lemans 1-1246 Stainless Steel Mens Watch 34 MM

Retrograde features are usually an indication of weekdays, dates, or months. The snap back that it endures as it reaches the end of the complication is very stressful on the mechanism and takes extensive manufacturing to perfect. This is why well-known manufacturers proudly display their mechanical movements and long-lasting seconds retrograde, showing their high-end manufacturing quality.

Every time you see a mechanical watch with indicators other than the hours, whether minutes or seconds, just think of the difficulty and the amount of time it takes to add so many modules inside such a tiny case.

Retrograde watches on The Luxury Closet:

Front of the Roger Dubuis Hommage 18k White Gold Mens Wristwatch 40 MM

 

 

 

Roger Dubuis Hommage 18k White Gold Mens Wristwatch 40 MM

 

 

Front of the JeanRichard Grand TV Screen Stainless Steel Mens Wristwatch 40 MM

 

 

 

JeanRichard Grand TV Screen Stainless Steel Mens Wristwatch 40 MM

 

 

 

Front of the Jacques Lemans 1-1246 Stainless Steel Mens Watch 34 MM

 

 

 

Jacques Lemans 1-1246 Stainless Steel Mens Watch 34 MM

 

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